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Windfarms blamed after three whales die off Suffolk  

Credit:  May 22 2017, The Times, thetimes.co.uk ~~

East Anglia News Service – Three whales that washed up on the Suffolk coast may have died after becoming disorientated by offshore windfarms, marine experts believe.

The coastguard received reports of a minke whale calf that had become separated from its mother on Friday night. By the next afternoon it had been found dead at the mouth of the River Ore and its mother was found washed up near Felixstowe. Yesterday another dead adult was seen off the Harwich coast. They are likely to have come from the same pod meaning that an entire family could have been lost.

Council staff are trying to establish what happened before disposing of the carcasses, one of which is about seven metres long and likely to weigh more than five tonnes. Wildlife experts claim that the noise generated by wind turbines can affect the sonar whales use to navigate, steering them off course. There are several commercial wind farms off East Anglia including Gunfleet Sands, which has 48 turbines.

John Cresswell, chairman of the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, said the upsetting scenes were becoming more frequent on the east coast. He added: “My personal opinion is that it could be a consequence of wind farms and the amount of sand in the water. If you stop the boat off the coast you can feel the vibrations and hear the noise.” His crew are monitoring 20 miles of coast for any more whales.

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Telegraph Reporters • 21 May 2017 • telegraph.co.uk

Three minke whales wash up dead on Suffolk coast

Three minke whales may have been disorientated by wind farm when the washed up dead off the coast of the UK, rescuers have said.

The first sighting of the dead whale, a calf, was spotted on a mudbank in the River Ore, near Felixstowe, on Saturday afternoon.

Officials have sealed off an area of Felixstowe Pier in Suffolk after the 30ft whale, thought to be the calf’s mother, washed up there.

Another dead adult whale was seen in the water near Harwick, Essex.

[]

John Cresswell, from the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, said it was normal for porpoises to wash up on the shore, but not whales.

“This is a really sad day. I have worked as a volunteer coast guard for twenty one years now and never seen anything like it.

“These creatures are beautiful and it we need to do something to stop this.”

Mr Cresswell, who added two other minke whales are currently in distress, thinks the deaths could be down to two possible factors.

He said: “Sometimes whales can’t get very good sonar transmission near mud banks, which means they end up at shore.

“I also believe that the wind turbines would have contributed to this, as whales aren’t able to communicate properly when wind turbines are being used.”

There are an estimation of 800,000 minke whales in the world, with their average life expectancy being 50 years.

According to John, the Council officials were planning to call in a special company to dispose of the whales, which would include towing the animals out to sea and ‘letting nature take it’s cause’.

However this has caused a stir as there are fears that the carcass could become a hazard to fishermen.

[rest of article available at source]

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Chris Kitching and Katie Ridley, 21 MAY 2017, mirror.co.uk

Three whales wash up dead on UK coast and two are injured ‘after becoming distressed by offshore windfarm’

The first dead whale – a calf – was spotted on a mudbank before the carcasses of two adults were found later.

Three minke whales have died and another two are in distress off England’s east coast amid suspicions that offshore wind turbines are to blame.

The first dead whale – a calf – was spotted on a mudbank in the River Ore, near Felixstowe, Suffolk, on Saturday afternoon.

Officials later sealed off an area near Felixstowe Pier after a 30ft adult whale, thought to be the calf’s mother, washed up dead.

Another adult whale was found dead in the sea near Harwich, Essex, while another two were reported in distress on Sunday afternoon.

The deaths have led to suspicions that offshore windfarms may have interfered with the whales’ sonar. Whales use sound to communicate with each other and navigate.

John Cresswell, from the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, thinks this weekend’s deaths could be down to two possible factors.

He said: “Sometimes whales can’t get very good sonar transmission near mud banks, which means they end up at shore.

“I also believe that the wind turbines would have contributed to this, as whales aren’t able to communicate properly when wind turbines are being used.”

Environmentalists believe offshore windfarms have contribute to whales deaths in the UK in the past.

Mr Cresswell said it was normal for porpoises to wash up on the shore, but not whales.

He added: “This is a really sad day. I have worked as a volunteer coast guard for twenty one years now and never seen anything like it.

“These creatures are beautiful and it we need to do something to stop this.”
Environmentalists believe offshore windfarms have contributed to whale deaths in the past (Photo: Getty)

He said council officials were planning to call in a special company to dispose of the whales, which would include towing the animals out to sea and “letting nature take its cause”.

However this has caused a stir as there are fears that the carcass could become a hazard to fishermen.

What is a minke whale?

Minke whales are known for being fast swimmers with speeds of up to 13mph, their ability to stay under water for up to 20 minutes and their solitary behaviour, although they have been seen feeding in groups before.

They are the smallest of the baleen whales found in British waters, measuring 23ft to 33ft as adults, the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust said.

They typically live for 40 to 50 years and have a diet of fish and plankton, swallowing large volumes of prey at one time.

There are an estimated 800,000 minke whales in the world.

Source:  May 22 2017, The Times, thetimes.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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